Transitioning from a solopreneur to a leader of a team can be a sign you’re on your way to building an empire. However, don’t get it twisted; while you may have built a solid reputation as a one-person show, poor team management can ruin it in seconds.
When running a one-person business, you may be able to risk certain things like keeping all of your standard operating procedures in your head or waiting until the last minute to file your taxes. However, when you’re leading a team, who ultimately becomes the face of your business, you can’t leave anything to chance. Planning, identifying best practices, and maintaining documentation is key.
One of the best ways to start documenting your processes and clarifying what you expect is to ask yourself: “If I went on a vacation for two weeks with limited or no access to the Internet, what would someone do each day to operate my business? ”
- Where would they find tools and resources to assist them with their day-to-day tasks?
- How would I expect them to handle customer interactions?
- Who are the primary points of contact for making decisions or handling worst-case scenarios?
- What does success look like?
- How would they keep my business safe both online and offline?
- What if ____________ happened? What would they do?
In the end, every “What if?” that pops up into your mind, is an opportunity for you to turn that thought into a to-do list, company manual or training for your team members.
Here are four additional questions to help you successfully transition from solopreneur to team leader:
What are your company values?
While values and vision are important for a one-person business, they are even more important for a team. Making sure everyone understands the company values and vision, keeps everyone on the same page when it comes to everything from handling conflict to creating a great customer experience.
If you never sit down to identify company values or a vision for employees to abide by, you leave them to make decisions based on their past experiences or personal values which goes against everything you stand for. Next thing you know, one avoidable mistake, puts your business down a dangerous path of bad reviews or poor sales.
What’s your onboarding process?
Regardless of the size of your team, designate a meeting time to officially onboard your team members. Even an in-person meeting via video can be used to set the tone for workplace culture. Make sure workload expectations are clear. Additionally, during this time, you may want to discuss decision-making, workflow hierarchy, and practices for handling after-hours requests.
What’s your internal and external communication policy?
According to an annual survey from Dynamic Signal, 80 percent of workers feel stressed because of ineffective company communication. Employee stress at work is the bridge to poor performance and low-levels of productivity. Even a small team of four people should have an internal and external communication policy in place to address everything from sending emails and responding to customers to using acceptable channels for social media posts, newsletters, etc.
The benefits of strong workplace communication practices relate to your bottom line. A 2017 Gallup report, states organizations with higher employee engagement have a 21 percent higher profitability and 17 percent more productivity.
What systems will support your day-to-day business operations?
Equally important to having business goals is having systems to support them. Consider workplace communication tools and systems like Slack and Asana to help your teams coordinate and manage multiple projects. While systems like Intuit Quickbook and Gusto can be used for payroll.